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Sunday, February 21, 2010


Okay, I've missed several of the last blogfests, but I couldn't resist the Whoops! Blogfest, sponsored by the fabulous Laurel over at Laurel's Leaves. We all have those whoops moments- the ones we wish we could erase from our memories. Permanently. Like in Men in Black.

Here's one of Hatshepsut's moments...

Initially glad to hear the muted voice of her father, Hatshepsut was repulsed by the topic of conversation. At sixteen years old, most girls her age were married by now, some with several babes in arms, but Hatshepsut had never given much thought to her own marriage. It would happen one day, but the idea was always restricted to some hazy, far-off future.

And to marry Thutmosis?

It made Hatshepsut glad she hadn’t eaten yet to think of all that would entail.

Hoping to avoid this particular discussion with her father now and for years to come, Hatshepsut stepped away from the hedge in full retreat. She made it three steps and her bare foot came into contact with something thin and furry atop the granite tile.

The screech of a cat rudely awakened from its slumber rent the morning silence. Hatshepsut jumped back to avoid the unsheathed claws of the angry feline she had just mauled. The ground she stepped on was unexpectedly lopsided- the lower lip of a fountain- and her balance faltered.

“Who’s there?” Hatshepsut heard the rumble of her father’s voice as her foot slipped out from under her. She plunged back into the fountain’s shallow waters with a violent splash.

Shimmering orange fish darted like underwater flames to avoid contact with their intruder. Drenched and mortified that she might be seen, Hatshepsut struggled to sit up, but she was too late. Her father and another man crashed through the hedge, stopping short to see Tutmose’s bedraggled daughter sputtering in the slight depths of the pool.

“Hatshepsut?” Seeing his daughter’s wilted expression, the Pharaoh threw back his head in great guffaws of laughter.

Hatshepsut felt her face flare crimson as she stepped out of the fountain. She was going to bolt for her chambers, but Tutmose gained control of himself in time to stop her.

“What in the name of Amun were you doing?”

Ma’at was having a good laugh at her expense right now. “Nothing, Father,” she mumbled, her cheeks on fire.

“Nothing?” Tutmose chuckled. “You expect me to believe that?”

“I went for a walk to clear my head and heard you talking.”

“And then you stopped to listen?”

“I didn’t mean any harm in it. I promise.”

“I’m sure you didn’t,” Tutmose said. “And even if you did, you’ve learned your lesson, haven’t you?”

“I certainly have.” Hatshepsut looked down at her drenched sheath and the growing lake at her feet. Raising her eyes, her gaze was met by the scrutiny of the second man standing in the shadow of the hedge.

Hatshepsut had never seen this nameless man before. She was startled at his frank appraisal of her and flustered at the blatant laughter dancing in his eyes. He wore the golden armband branding him as her father’s servant, but possessed features so striking she couldn’t have forgotten him. Each part of his face was not especially noteworthy, but when combined the portrait forced a lasting imprint upon one’s mind. A single scar marred the flesh of his forehead- a thin white slash through an otherwise unspoiled copper canvas.

As her eyes swept over the rest of him, Hatshepsut realized that whoever this stranger was, he was no typical courtier with the soft belly and pale skin attesting to a life of ease safe from Re’s glare. He was accustomed to hard work out of doors, something the sinewy muscles roping his arms and legs could attest to.

She was staring. Scrambling to mask her flurry of emotions with the servant’s laughing eyes on her, Hatshepsut mustered her most imperious tone. “And who is this, Father?”


Just Another Sarah said...

I should so be sleeping right now...but this is the first I've seen of your book...and it was kind of exciting! Poor Hatshepsut. Oh, how awkward things happen at inopportune times!

Michele Emrath said...

And one whoops leads to a very important moment, I assume? Exciting! Thank you for sharing!

Honestly, the title of the blogfest did not appeal to me, but you have made it appeal with your writing.


Tina Lynn said...

Wow, do you have a gift. Beautifully, descriptive prose. Love the character. Though it sucks to be her right about now:)

Matthew Delman said...

Hmm ... could this be Senenmut perhaps?

I like this moment.

laurel said...

I love seeing an historic fic spin on embarrassing. It's the formality and weight you create for Hatsheput's world (especially the shimmery little details like the darting fish) that makes this clumsy moment so awesome.

Thanks so much for participating in the fest and making it fun!

Amalia T. said...

This is a great moment-- I love Hatshepsut's response of Imperiousness at the end, to mask her embarrassment. :)

L. T. Host said...

I somehow knew you'd pick this segment. Of course, it was also the only "whoops" I recall her making.

roxy said...

Awesome as always. When you're a published author, I'll be thrilled to buy this fascinating story. Great job!

Bethany Mattingly said...

I love how you describe the fish as underwater flames. You have an incredible way with writing. I'm always dying to read more when your post excerpts.

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Great excerpt Stephanie, love how you ended with a cliffhanger!

Elizabeth Poole said...

I loved this excerpt. You are quite talented, and I definitely want to know more.*drools* So when is the book being published?

Julie Dao said...

Oooh that nameless stranger sounds kinda HOT. Great writing, it pulled me right in! Now I want to read more :( Haha thanks for sharing! I keep missing all of these amazing blogfests!

Julie said...

Wow - it does suck to be her right now but beautiful writing!

Jemi Fraser said...

Poor Hat! Her timing stinks, but at least she stood her ground. I like that!!

Tara said...

Just wonderful. You really brought this scene to life. More, more more!

Dawn Simon said...

Nice job! And you're leaving us wondering... ;)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I love getting to read more of Hatshepsut's story (hey, I'm getting to where I can spell her name). And I really like the way you had her do the face-saving move of being imperious at the end.

Donna Hole said...

Steph; I've been resisting the pull of your blog for a long time. I don't want to get pulled into another YA novel.

But; I enjoy you so much. And Hatshepsut is so interesting. I've been scrolling down and I'm even more intrigued.

Thanks for sharing this post.


KM said...

Loved this! Your WIP sounds amazing. I'm obsessed with ancient history. My current WIP is set in ancient Greece. You better get published so I can read this novel. :)